How many of us wake up each morning rushing? There always seems to be so much to get done before leaving the house. Often our mornings feel so short in time, we have just enough time to grab a coffee, get ready and rush out of the door to head to work, drop the kids to school or fulfil any other responsibilities we may have. Then there is the worry of traffic, the delayed trains or the overpacked tubes.
The feeling and sense of being time constrained can lead to stress, frustration and starting the day with a less than optimal mindset. You may have heard of the phrase “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”…I remember my mum used to say this to me when I was young.
The times when we rise, and sleep can have a huge impact on the way our day progresses and how effective we can be. There is a great deal of research on this topic and many famous faces have been known to rise early to make the most of the quietude of the morning hours and sow the seeds for the day ahead. The benefits range from increased productivity, better sleep, reduction in procrastination all the way through to becoming more successful.
I recently finished reading “The 5am Club” by Robin Sharma and it has inspired me to write about this topic in greater detail. I have always been an early riser (not quite 5AM) where I like to take my time, to reflect, do my own thing before my time becomes part of the rest of the world. I take my time to have my breakfast, I meditate, and I really like to have a chilled-out morning routine so that I am not impacted by the uncontrolled events of the day; my routine has already placed me into a positive mindset before I leave home.
Studies are showing that an effective morning routine can result in the creation of a life where we thrive, flourish and grow.
From a personal perspective, my grandparents are in their late 80s and they wake early each day, they meditate, they exercise and eat a great diet. Research of the blue zones (Sardinia, Okinawa, Loma Linda, Nicoya Peninsula and Ikaria), where the most centenaries live have found that they have routines which support their lifestyle and great health. One of the practices adopted is rising early.
The effective morning routine is more than simply rising early, there are steps which can be taken to sow the seeds for a day which is positive, productive and prepared. Here are some examples of things which can be done during these special morning hours:
- Meditating & Intention Setting – giving the mind, body and soul the gap to become still and self-connect
- Reflecting – appreciating the things in life and identifying with the things you’re grateful for
- Journaling – writing your thoughts, ideas, dreams and desires
- Exercising – kick-starting the mind and body though aerobic exercise and stretching
- Nourishing the body and mind – consuming wholesome and nutritious foods and drinks to boost the mind and body
- Reading – absorbing new knowledge or reading an inspirational book to grow the mind
- Doing something you love – using the time to do something you love, from watching the sunrise to listening to a piece of music
- Noticing the small things – in quietude, the outside sounds become more prominent, notice the singing of the birds, the smell of the air to the sound of your breath
Rising at 5am can seem like a daunting thing to do, there are baby steps which can be taken to support you in creating a morning routine.
Sleeping and waking routing
Creating a routine which will support early rising involves, going to bed slightly earlier than usual and setting the alarm to wake slightly earlier than usual. As you get comfortable and used to the new routine, start to wake-up earlier.
Plan things the night before
There may be some activities which you can prepare and plan the night before, for example, preparing clothes, making lunches and getting ingredients ready for breakfast. If you plan to exercise in the morning, have your clothes and shoes ready to go. Set the alarm clock.
What motivates you
Set your mind on why you want to do this and how it will benefit your life. Once you know the “why” this will motivate and inspire you to take action.
Be patient with yourself
Creating a new life pattern is trial and error, so if at first you do not stick to the routine, use the next day as another opportunity. By preserving and seeing the benefits first hand, we will work towards this goal of rising early. Monica Mahi Mathijs is the CEO and Founder of Our Stillness and Firefly Today. She is also a seasoned change agent, working on various projects across industries.